This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
A small genus of elegant compound-leaved dwarf herbs with creeping rhizomes. Leaves ternately or pinnately divided. Flowers in terminal, simple or branched racemes. Sepals 8, petaloid, flat, the four outer smaller. Petals 4, small, cucullate, or spurred. Stamens 4. Carpel 1, many-seeded. Confined to temperate Europe and Asia. A Greek name applied to a similar plant.
1. E. alpinum (fig. 24). - One of the prettiest, though not so large flowered as some of the others. It grows about a foot high, with slender hard and shining stems and petioles Flowers brown and yellow. A native of the Alps, flowering in May. 2. E. violaceum. - Has narrow leaflets and violet flowers. A native of Japan.
Fig. 24. Epimedium alpinum. (1/3 nat. size.)
3. E. macranthum. - This is the handsomest of the genus, growing about 9 inches high, and bearing comparatively large white flowers. A native of Japan.
There are several other species, as diphyllum, roseum, lilaclnum, and Sinense, white tinged with rose or violet; and sulphiireum and pinnatum, yellow and purplish brown.